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Open Educational Resources
This is a guide to open educational materials, commonly referred to as Open Educational Resources or OER, i.e. course materials (usually from universities) which can be freely accessed via the internet. Only the material is free - instruction is not provided. It may be used by any individuals including students and teachers, or by institutions.
The content from such resources is often open access content - meaning it is a more restrictive license than most wikis for example, and derivatives are not allowed. (True open content allows more freedom of use.) Due to the license difference, the content cannot be quoted at length in a CC-BY-SA-licensed wiki such as Appropedia.
Note that creating content is as valuable as accessing it - even more valuable. Setting assignments on Appropedia - creating topic pages, or writing projects - is a good way of educating, such that the students' work can have a lasting value. This may be an extra incentive to do good work. This also exposes the writing to other critiques and input, teaches the students to engage with an editing community, and introduces them to related ideas and like-minded people, that might inspire them. See Category:Service learning courses for examples of courses using Appropedia in this way.
The open license used is important. It must be open content, or at the very least allow commercial use, and preferably be Creative Commons or similar - GFDL is possible, but requires printing out the whole license, many pages (at the front?).
Textbook projects include:
- CK-12, a non-profit organization which aims to reduce the cost of textbook materials for the K-12 market both in the US and worldwide. - CC-BY-SA.
- Wikibooks - GFDL, but Wikimedia is probably transitioning to CC-BY-SA in coming months, which is better.
- OERCommons - Open content?
- Free High School Science Texts. - Open content?
- Connextions (Rice University) - Open content?
- California government open-licensed textbook project (announced ~2009, starting with mathematics and science?)
- Wikibooks (limited success - almost no completed books. This suggests there might be a problem with the model.)
- WikiEducator and Wikiversity.
- DEP - Development Education Project - produces materials for global education, among other things.
Open educational materials (general)
- OpenCourseWare Finder - searches course content (on all topics) from institutions including MIT, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and many others.
- iberry.com -- The academic porthole - Open Courseware Directory and Higher Education Resources
- Connexions - course materials from universities around the world; also contains other material such as theses.
- Global Text Project - currently has almost no content. Open access but not open editing. Aims to create a free library of 1,000 electronic textbooks for students in the developing world, covering the range of topics typically encountered in the first two years of a university's undergraduate programs.
- Khan Academy -The Khan Academy is a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education to anyone anywhere. This is done primarily through short video tutorials - lots of good intro material particularly in math. In addition to the video library there is a complete custom self-paced learning tool, a dynamic system for getting help, and a custom profile, points, and badges to measure progress to encourage students to learn.
- Open Learning Exchange - A new initiative to achieve the goal of "universal access to basic education by 2015". OLE is working with many national governments and developing toolkits that will allow regions to create their own OLEs to facilitate sharing of resources, curriculum development, and access to education.
- Beyond Grey Pinstripes - environmental and ethical business course materials, research and academics. Also included in bi-annual survey and ranking.
- Open Wet Ware - a wiki to promote the sharing of information, know-how, and wisdom among researchers and groups who are working in biology & biological engineering. Contains courses and technology/lab processes.
- BMESource - a wiki for biomedical engineering. Linksters are students who find reference material during BME project based coursework taught by the Associate Editors.
- Center for Sustainable Engineering (CSE) - An NSF sponsored "Center" which is charged with running 6 workshops in 3 years and collecting and analyzing sustainable engineering coursework.
- Note: We have relationships with the Principle Investigators on this grant, and Ryan will meet with Cliff Davidson next week to discuss how Appropedia and CSE can work together better.
- American Association of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) - A US network for advancing sustainability in higher education. They are currently quite operations focused and working to make sure universities are built and operate sustainably. They have an excellent listing of relevant databases for funding, coursework, positions, etc. These are closed, but individuals only need an institutional ID from a member institution.
- Free e-books on several topics
- CD3WD; free e-books on several topics
- Green trust: has some free books on water harvesting, ...
- Wikiversity:Topic:Permaculture (one-page stub)
- Wikiversity:Topic:Ecological Sustainability (small stub)
- Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's OPENCOURSEWARE (OCW) project, which provides free access to course material (such as MP3 files of lectures), from a highly regarded public health education institution. The Global Health topic area is of particular interest, with lectures on Water and Sanitation, and Tropical Environmental Health.
- Design for Sustainability, Fall 2004 - examines the growing popularity of 'sustainability' and its implications for the practice of engineering, particularly for the built environment.
- Business, Engineering & Sustainability Workshop Courses - a listing of coursework in reference to the 2007 NSF workshop.
Leonardo Energy run a free webinar program on sustainable energy with more-or-less weekly" briefings. Archived webinars are viewable as webcasts (in PDF form?).
Public health education
- Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health OpenCourseWare (OCW) project - includes audio files and/or PDF files for lectures. Very valuable.
Water and sanitation
- Water Sanitation Needs in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies from the Johns Hopkins OpenCourseWare (OCW) project. Lectures by Leslie Roberts, in MP3 (audio) format.
Audio and video materials
- Lectures Archive - no search function, lacking detailed descriptions and sometimes names of lecturers, but some interesting looking content (including a lot by well-respected thinkers and authors). For sustainability-related content, go to Science/Cognition Studies, scroll down to Specific Topics, and browse.
- Do a web search for OCW OR OpenCourseWare MP3 OR OGG your search term. OGGW is an open source audio format. (Note: the OpenCourseWare Finder doesn't work with this approach, as it appears to only search descriptions.)
OER for children
- K12 Open Ed wiki - see also their blog.
- Wikijunior from Wikibooks - producing "age-appropriate non-fiction books for children from birth to age 12."
- Educational Materials at NCAT's Smart Communities Network lists K-12 materials for teaching Sustainable Development. Do a page search for "free" and there are some promising looking links.
Note that many groups support children's education, and might be interested in partnering with well-organized initiatives. An example is Science Club for Girls - to increase the self-confidence and science literacy of K–12th grade girls belonging to groups that are underrepresented in the sciences, through free, after school programs that provide experiential learning, mentorship, and leadership opportunities.